Kit MacFarlane


Ruining enjoyment of popular culture since 2007


The Latest Essays, Articles, and Extispicium from 

Australia's Most Tolerated Cultural Curmudgeon

New Column at Popmatters: Retro Remote. Try it, kids!

Retro Remote #7: The Prisoner, 'Fall Out', February 1, 1968 - Popmatters, November 12, 2009.

Multiple analyses of an inaudible speech from Patrick McGoohan's 'The Prisoner' finale, and a needless dig at Ian McKellen.


Retro Remote #6: Pete Kelly's Blues, 'Dr Jonathan Budd', September 19, 1951 - Popmatters, October 20, 2009.

Seemingly my attempt to 'strip music of any real personal or cultural power' disguised as a review of Jack Webb's great jazz radio show. Retro Remote: 1, 'Music as Transcendental Entity': 0.


Retro Remote #5: Frontier Doctor, 'Queen of the Cimarron, September 26, 1958 - Popmatters, September 23, 2009.

Actress Jean Willes'  best part, tough bad-gal Miss Fancy, gets what's coming to her: a solid dose of gumdrops and church.


Retro Remote #4: All in the Family, 'Gloria Sings the Blues', March 2, 1974 - Popmatters, August 27, 2009.

How to compress a nine-hour Ingmar Bergman marriage-angst film into a half-hour sitcom (BONUS: super-profound phrases to copy-and-paste into your college essays, kids).


Retro Remote #3: Ric Flair v Kerry Von Erich, WCCW Heavyweight Title Match - December 25, 1982 - Popmatters, July 21, 2009.

This article is probably the greatest thing to happen to professional wrestling since Georg Hackenschmidt submitted to Frank Gotch's ankle lock in 1908.

Retro Remote #2: Have Gun - Will Travel, 'Return to Fort Benjamin', January 30, 1960 - Popmatters, June 18, 2009.

Uber-cool cowboy Paladin tries to shut down US military torture shack in the 1880s (complete with Guantanamo Bay style pep and Dick Cheney style nutcase). Coincidentally published on what would have been star Richard Boone's 92nd birthday.


Star Trek's Lost Legacy of Literary Pretension - Popmatters, May 22, 2009.

One step away from writing internet fan-fiction about Kirk and Spock holding hands.


Retro Remote #1: Gidget, 'Dear Diary -- et al.', episode 1, September 15, 1965 - Popmatters, May 8, 2009.

In which I find an academic excuse for watching 'Gidget'. It's the same old Lacanian psychoanalytic media theory, but 15% more adorable.

Who Needs an Oscar Anyway?: Mickey Rourke's 'Homeboy' - Popmatters, 'All Things Reconsidered', May 6, 2009.

A desperate attempt to get 'Homeboy' released on DVD so that I can finally retire my last remaining VHS tape. (BONUS: attempt #1 at convincing the world that Wrestlemania is a far more important cultural event than the Academy Awards.) 


The Risks of Writing Off Pop Culture - Weekend Australian Review, October 11, 2008.

A whole article on pop culture and not a single mention of Superman, William Shatner's spoken-word album, or that episode of Xena where she fights vampires. What a sell-out.  


Pirates Become Canon Keepers - The Australian Higher Education, September 10, 2008.

To be followed by an article in which I explain the cultural benefits of stealing a car and stealing a handbag.


This Postgraduate Life - The Weekend Australian Higher Education Special Report: Postgrad, September 6, 2008.

"Special Report", eh? Found only in the dying medium of print. (BONUS: terrifying supervillain-style photo)

Pop Goes the Canon  - The Australian Higher Education, August 20, 2008.

Combining literary analysis and cultural theory to demonstrate: a) the pop culture I like is art; and b) the pop culture you like just proves how stupid you are. (BONUS: Full length version, horribly cut in print for blowing too many minds (aka being too long))


'Dark Knight' Batman Bad for Comic Book Literacy  - Weekend Australian Review, August 16, 2008.

When I'm Batman, things will be different. (BONUS: extra long, extra cranky version)


When Will the Internet Catch Up to Futuristic Plagiarism? - The Australian Higher Education, July 21, 2008.

Is plagiarising from the Internet plagiarism? Not according to Dr Dale Spender's futuristic space age world of down-load and web-site, hu-man.


Despairing Lack of Yoof Delinquency  - The Australian Higher Education Blog, May 30, 2008.

Giving the kids a one way ticket out of Squaresville, pops.


The Really Important Music Trivia Question - Weekend Australian Review, February 16, 2008.

The ABC's Spicks and Specks, SBS' Rockwiz, Channel Nine's Keynotes with Richard Wilkins, The Final Countdown by Europe. Just because I love 'em doesn't mean I don't have nasty things to say about 'em. (BONUS: senseless use of the word 'hipsters')


The Real Reason Monster Movies are Scary - Weekend Australian Review, February 02, 2008.

Cloverfield, King Kong, Godzilla, Panic in Year Zero!, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, Armageddon, The Core, disaster movies, monster movies, the reason Peter Jackson's King Kong remake sucks, and a cheap shot at J. J. Abrams.


Alan Alda: Republican Role Allowed Hawkeye to Reinvent Himself (below main interview) - Weekend Australian Review, December 08, 2007.

More backhanded compliments than my high-school reunion.


The Sopranos finale: The Unkindest Cut - Weekend Australian Review, October 27, 2007.

An attempt to revive a 40 year old controversy over Patrick McGoohan's finale of The Prisoner, sidetracked by David Chase's The Sopranos finale and references to Blake's 7, Roseanne, The Wonder Years, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Doctor Who (the old one), Doctor Who (the bad one), Cheers, M*A*S*H*, and St. Elsewhere. (BONUS: an always welcome reference to Xena: Warrior Princess)


The Chaser's War on Nothing Much - Weekend Australian Review, October 13, 2007.

Remember, joking that your show is not funny is only funny if your show is, in fact, funny.


Contributions and Quotations (aka things I found while Googling myself):

Our Universities Get High Score in International Wage Test - by Luke Slattery and Andrew Trounson, The Australian, November 14, 2008.

In which I manage to talk about casual-academic working conditions without referencing even one TV show or comic book. (BONUS: hideous 'harry high-pants' photo in print version)


Short Reviews:

'I see a Darkness' by Bonnie "Prince" Billy and 'Mule Variations' by Tom Waits - from Popmatters, 'The Edge of Change: The Albums of 1999', June 22-23, 2009.

Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats - Umbrella Entertainment DVD review, from memorable tv.


Thesis Abstracts:

An Isomorphic Vacuum in the Fourth Dimension

H. G. Wells' The Time Machine, Edgar Allan Poe's The Sphinx, Douglas Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach, Slavoj Zizek, Euripides, Batman, silent cinema and the films of Lon Chaney Sr. Isomorphic madness, baby.

Full abstract coming soon.

Blind Machines: Euripides and the Deus Ex Machina

Euripides' use of the deus ex machina in Ion, Alcestis, Medea, and The Bacchae. Lesson: respect the 'Rip.

Full abstract coming soon.